Family Child Care Providers’ Class-Action Lawsuit Spurs SEIU Officials to Back Down from Forced Dues Demands
Home-based child care providers challenge forced unionization law; seek refund of illegally-seized union dues
Olympia, WA — The day after a group of family child care providers filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging a 2006 law that authorizes the forcible unionization of Washington State’s 12,000 home-based child care providers, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925 officials sent a letter to providers in the state dropping their forced dues demands.
The development comes immediately in the wake of a federal lawsuit filed by Cindy Mentele and three other providers from around the state with free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys in conjunction with the Freedom Foundation. The lawsuit, which names Governor Jay Inslee in addition to SEIU Local 925, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
The child care providers’ lawsuit challenges the forced-unionism scheme on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of free political expression and association. National Right to Work Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate providers’ First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government because the government does not have the constitutional authority to force citizens to accept its handpicked political representative to lobby itself.
The child care providers also seek repayment of union fees illegally taken from them by the Governor, and given to SEIU Local 925, over the past three years.
Home-based child care and personal care providers, with Right to Work Foundation attorneys’ assistance, have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country, including Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in Harris v. Quinn, argued by Right to Work Foundation attorneys, striking down the Illinois scheme, ruling that individuals who receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees. The Court did not rule on whether providers can be forced to accept the union’s so-called representation under a monopoly bargaining scheme.
“Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Although a positive first step, this letter doesn’t begin to address the gross violations this forced unionism scheme inflicts on Washington State’s child care providers’ First Amendment rights of free expression and association.”